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PRECIOUS-Gold off 7-month low as dollar weakness outweighs firmer yields
Published at 22/02/2021 at 07:48

* Benchmark Treasury yields hit highest in nearly a year

* Bitcoin scales record high on Sunday

* Markets await Powell testimony to Congress on Tuesday

(Adds analyst comment, updates prices)

By Sumita Layek

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Monday after hitting a more than seven-month low in the previous session, as support from a weaker dollar eclipsed pressure from firmer Treasury yields.

Spot gold rose 0.5% to $1,791.50 per ounce by 0733 GMT, having touched its lowest since July 2 at $1,759.29 on Friday. U.S. gold futures gained 0.6% to $1,787.70.

"The dollar coming off is helping to negate the rise in yields," Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank said, adding "gold is in a weird place... while there's clearly a need for inflation hedging, firming risk sentiment has pressured gold".

The dollar was sold to multi-year lows against sterling and rival currencies on Monday, but benchmark U.S. Treasury yields hit a near one-year high, increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Apart from the $1.9 trillion U.S. COVID-19 aid that is expected to pass by the end of the week, investors await Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony on the Semiannual Monetary Report to Congress starting Tuesday.

"The rise in yields will be the major headwind for gold for now, but if Powell hints at any dovishness or implies that current yields are too high for sustained economic recovery... then we can see gold embark on a rally again," Lee said.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin hit a record high on Sunday.

"The recovery by gold remains unconvincing and its technical picture remains grim. For now, the crypto market appears to have temporarily taken over the mantle of inflation hedge," OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a note.

A lower dollar can help stabilize gold prices at this stage but not turn the overall direction, Halley added.

Silver gained 0.6% to $27.38 an ounce, while platinum

rose 0.2% to $1,276.92.

Palladium climbed 1% to $2,403.08, having earlier hit an over one-month high at $2,431.50.

(Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Vinay Dwivedi)

((Sumita.Layek@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 8061822693; Reuters Messaging: Sumita.Layek.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))